I have two setups in my house. On both, I use a Thunderbolt 2 compatible adapter that connects to the firewire port and gives me an HDMI output signal. Then I run an HDMI cable from there to an HDMI switch by Kinivo. The output runs from there to an HDMI 1080p HDTV.

One uses a MacMini from late 2009 running El Capitan (10.11.6), which seems to be the latest I can upgrade it to. That particular setup uses an Epson 1450 Home Cinema projector. I've tested it with other HDMI TVs, though. When I switch the HDMI switch to Output 1 (the MacMini), I see the MacMini display with no issue.

On the 2nd setup, I have a 27" iMac, from late 2013, running macOS Sierra 10.12.6. (Haven't had time to update to the latest yet.) It's the same setup, but, of course, to a different 1080p HDTV. If I run the HDMI cable from the Thunderbolt 2 display adapter to the TV (and I've tested it with different TVs), I get a clear image and can use the TV as a 2nd monitor. But once I run the signal from the adapter, through one cable, into the HDMI switch (same brand, same model, as the other one - ordered them together), on the HDTVs I've tested it on, I get "Unsupported Signal."

The factor that changes is adding the HDMI switch.

I also have an input on both HDMI switches from a DISH TV device. In all cases, on both systems, when I switch to the DISH device as an input, everything is fine. Inputs from blue ray players are fine. But on this 2nd system, with the iMac, whenever the signal goes through the HDMI switch, the result is "Unsupported Signal."

Can someone give me an explanation of what is happening and if it's fixable. What puzzles me is this happens on one switch and not the other. (I'm hoping to swap out switches at some point to test them.) I'm wondering if the output on the iMac could be different than the output from the MacMini.

  • HDMI is flaky to begin with, then you introduce signal "conversion". Going from DisplayPort to HDMI, you should be using an active adapter. See this answer and this answer
    – Allan
    Nov 11 '17 at 11:55
  • Okay, I get it. Active adapter ordered. If it works, I'll let you know and you can write the comment out as an answer. Could there be a difference in the output from the MacMini and the iMac that might explain why the passive works on one but not on the other?
    – Tango
    Nov 11 '17 at 13:46
  • Come to think of it, when I first set this up, and I didn't use the switch, I had a few problems with it sometimes working and not working and when I first put the switch in for testing a few weeks ago, had similar issues. Sometimes it'd work, sometimes not. I think all that would be explained by a flakey signal like that.
    – Tango
    Nov 11 '17 at 13:51
  • @Allan: I haven't dropped this - I ordered the item you suggested and it was supposed to arrive Monday from Amazon. It went to the wrong warehouse and even though it was on 2 day delivery, it sat there from Monday until Thursday with nothing happening. Still waiting on Amazon...
    – Tango
    Nov 17 '17 at 2:21
  • @Allan: It took forever for Amazon to get the adaptor here. I specifically ordered the one you linked to in the appropriate answer. Tested it on 3 different TVs. One said, "Unsupported signal," one kept bringing something up for 1 second or so with an info display saying "DVI Signal," and specifying 1024x1080 resolution, and another just keeps saying, "No Signal."
    – Tango
    Nov 20 '17 at 1:09

After suggestions in the comments, I tried an active adapter instead of a passive one. While the adapter may have been flakey, for some reason, Amazon deliveries for the past week have been completely inept and I wasn't about to risk dealing with that again to return the adapter and get a replacement. Instead I went to Best Buy and got a different HDMI switch. I'm not going to link to it because, although it solved this problem, it had another issue.

I'll be trying another adapter when it arrives and if that works, I'll post information on it.

In the meanwhile, I was using a Kinivo 3 Output HDMI switch. While it handled the normal DVR and BD player video signals, it was not able to handle the video signal from either display adapter from my iMac. Be aware of that issue if you are looking at that brand of an HDMI switch.

EDIT: I have to add that, after experimenting, while I was using a switch that worked for my display adapter, I found an issue with the connector. Bottom line: The connector had a very narrow "fail range." Most of the time it was plugged in, it'd work, but there was just one angle that would make it fail. Of course that angle was the angle it was in when in the Kinivo switch, where the signal would not go through. Once I swapped it with another cable, it worked fine.

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